Photo courtesy of Ronald van Weeren/ARTIS Amsterdam Royal Zoo
Founded in 1838, Amsterdam’s zoo, just east of the Canal Ring, is one of the oldest in Europe, with a parklike setting that also houses an aquarium and planetarium (entrance to both is included in the price of admission). The grounds, while not large, are home to around 700 species, including giraffes, gorillas, penguins, pelicans, sloths, and reindeer. A highlight is Lemur Island, where the freely roaming long-tailed creatures scurry and hop all around you. The zoo also recently updated its Asian elephant and jaguar enclosures. The aquarium, which dates from 1882, was fully renovated in 1997 and counts tropical fish, sharks, and sea horses among its residents; it also boasts an underwater scene of a typical Amsterdam canal, complete with a sunken bicycle.